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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  June 3, 2015 9:00am-11:01am EDT

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in our economy we've also heard the cooperation between states and western states and federal government and different entities to address these impacts. to make matters worse, many climate models are projects that portions of the west are just likely to get drier and hotter so now more than ever i believe that the federal government should take the lead in supporting research on how climate change will exacerbate drought conditions like the ones we've been talking about today. mr. connor what is the department of interior doing to better understand the impacts of these climate related events and how is that informing our
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understanding of what we're going to do going forward? >> thank you, senator franken. we have a number of different areas by which we're participating, particularly in the area of better understanding the impact of climate change on water resources and then systematically trying to assess what are the trite strategies to deal with those implications. and we participate our u.s. geological survey participates with the global change program that helped put together the national climate assessment. certainly within the department itself we have had a focus on putting together more transparent use of our water-related data because not only can we use that, but there are a lot of smart people outside the department and we have an open water data initiative to try and standardized data enough so we can put it out and make it access i believe because we think others particularly in academia can help us use that
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data to better understand the changes that have occurred to date and to move forward. and we have a basin studies program within the bureau of reclamation and we're looking for opportunities to assess supply supply/demand imbalances over a 50-year period using the best climate data and down scaled models to assess how supply is changing in individual basins. >> as we go forward since we're projecting drier, hotter weather going forward because of climate changes, is that going to make certain technologies suddenly economic where they weren't before? and anyone is free to comment on this. i heard about desalinization of brackish waters in arizona. i think san diego has got a billion dollar project desalinization project that will
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deliver 7% of the county's needs. going forward, things like -- you mentioned the u.s. geological survey. i know that in the aqueducts in california, for example, go through some very arid areas, and there's a lot of evaporation, and i know the u.s. geological survey study covering certain -- in very low precipitation areas covering the aqueducts so you don't lose the evaporation. going forward, are we going to see certain approaches become economical, start to make sense like desalinization or like that, covering the aqueducts? are we going to start seeing those things become economical? and anybody can weigh in. >> i will -- thank you.
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i will comment for example, we're leasing water. one season leases. ten years ago we paid the basein we paid $137 and this is a reverse option where we solicit bids so costs have doubled, and with more frequent draughts, what does it mean or the cost of water and the cost of leasing? for example, the strategy has some -- there's some controversy around the benefit cost analysis. one of the proposals is to have a pumping system set up on lake co-hees because there's 200 acre feed of dead storage. if you could pump that water it's an enormous amount of water for fish and agricultural. i think it could be that as water is more squares,carce, projects like that make more economic
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sense. >> any other comment? >> senator franken looking at statistics for desalinization of water, in texas the cost is $1,000 per acre foot. for pacific ocean desalinization it's $1,500 to $2,100 per acre foot. you compare that with central arizona project cities who treat and deliver potable water at a cost of $1,200 to $1,600 acre foot so it's becoming more economical, more in the range of what we're seeing now for the cost of water. >> well thank you, madam chair. i know that someone mentioned israel before, and they are doing -- you know, they're a very arid area with great agricultural sector and they're exploring desalinization. soas we go ahead in the future i think there are certain technologies that will become economic in the future. >> senator gardner.
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>> i'm happy to allow senator cane to go and we'll flip-flop. >> appreciate it. just really one major question and i'm not sure who wants to tackle this, and this may be something that we take for the record. i'm interested in the historic data of water in the west. in other words, are we facing a new crisis or are we seeing a return to a normal situation over the last 1,000 years or 10,000 years, and i think that's an important question because that will inform our response. does anybody have any response to that question now or is this something that we have to look at? mr. connor do you have any background on that? >> i do have a quick thought but i think it deserves a little bit more elaboration for the written record. but as an example we have about 100 years of stream flow data in most of the river basin that is we've got, so that's -- >> that's a blink of the eye. >> it's a blink of the eye but i wanted to give the example in
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the last 15-year drought in the colorado river basin the in stream flows, the runoff within that system is the lowest on record over that period of drought. but through tree ring data there's been some research that has highlighted that it's in the lowest first percentile of the last 1200 years. so there are new mechanisms to look at what the estimates of what the runoff within that basin has been and we are at the very lowest levels through that tree ring data and we may have similar reconstructions of data in other basins that we can now start comparing to to really find out where we're at and how significant is this drought because drought, of course, is sick lick. >> i peshtappreciate that. any further information is important to have to inform how we respond to this. i was in california in april and was up in the mountains and was shocked to see the reservoirs at
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what looked like august levels in april when they should have been full, and i was told that the snow pack in the sierras was at 6% of normal and i thought they said 60%. it was 94% down, which is just stunning. it seems to me that one of the things, and you all have mentioned this at various points in your testimony, we really need to talk about conservation and efficiency measures, not necessarily conservation of don't use but use more efficiently, low flow toilets drip air gation, all of those techniques which are probably the lowest cost -- i think you testified to this, mr. connor -- of all the alternatives, those tend to be the lowest cost per acre foot as opposed to reservoirs desalinization, and other technologies. is that accurate? >> absolutely. it is one of the most efficient ways. it's the low hanging fruit particularly for municipalities. the appliances, the plumbing
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that they use. one area, and our water smart program that we've been investing in since 2009, we've invested something like $460 million of federal money and we've yielded about 860,000 acre feet of water that we view as conserved or contributed as new supply that we've helped facilitate to that program. one of the ongoing -- i just looked at the 50-plus project that is we just announced a couple weeks ago turf removal programs for a lot of municipalities are very highly leveraged in their water savings. amongst municipalities across the west. and so we're still giving out some grants along those lines. >> the one question about -- i'm sorry, energy efficiency, i'm thinking energy but it's a similar issue, water efficiency is price signals. what will be the incentive for the efficiency if somebody is going to put in a low flow foy
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let toilet s toilet, is there a price signal on the water that will make it a justifiable expense. in other words, are they doing it just to be good citizens or are they saving themselves money? i think this is something we can discuss further, but that's important. are we talking about incremental price increases if you use above a certain amount or regulatory requirements that new installations have to be more water efficient? it seems to me that's an important discussion because if water is the same price whether we're in a terrible drought or in a surplus situation, then there's no incentive for people to do that kind of efficiency. mr. michael, talk to me about your farm and the incentives for water efficiency. >> california because of the regulatory climate we use every resource as carefully as we absolutely can. we have an incentive just based on our cost of production to
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always use things as carefully as possible. we installed drip irrigation on over 60% of our farm. we have very successful collaborative partnerships with the bureau on modernization of our entire water district which benefits all the water users, so we've had a long history of working with the bureau, so i think it's important, as you mentioned, not only to look at the very large projects but also find ways to incentivize local efforts and work in collaboration with the bureau and the federal agencies to help that along and then streamlining some of the environmental requirements if you were going to have some participation by the private sector and some storage projects and things like that, i think there's ways to encourage other participation, but we are very proactive in terms of using our water resources. >> thank you. >> thank you. as we talk about infrastructure and updating things around this country, i think one of those areas that we forget when we want to talk about efficiency or conservation is old water
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systems that just leak. how much water we lose just because of aging infrastructure. senator gardner. >> thank you madam chair and thank you for holding this hearing today. i think it's very timely. while we in the west are talking about draught about drought issue that may have spurred this hearing, we can talk about it all day, every day. in 2013 we saw massive and catastrophic flooding in colorado. interspersed with drought in parts of the state as well. if you just look at the needs of colorado over the next several years, by 2050 according to the state's department of natural resources, the statewide water supply initiative, it's estimated just on municipal and industrial uses needs alone for water, by the year 2050 colorado will have to have an additional 600,000 to 1 million acre feet of water. that's not even taking into account drought. that's just talking about future
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projected needs of m & i on our water supplies. if you look at what happens in colorado without that water over the next several decades, we lose between 500 and 700,000 acres of farmland through urbanization, urban water transfers if we don't have the water that we need. we have done a good job of conservation in colorado. can we do better? obviously we all can and we should look at ways to develop a critical conservation approaches. in colorado we have basically resulted through hard work of many people resulted in 18% water savings per capita in colorado since the year 2000. per capita water efficiency has resulted in an 18% per capita water conservation rate. if we hit the median level though of every water storage project that we need to get to that 600,000 to 1 million acre feet of water, we're looking at a $15 billion infrastructure
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cost in colorado alone simply to develop 800,000 acre feet of water, additional water we need by 2050. that's a significant cost. if we build every water project in colorado that is under consideration, that is under construction, that is -- i guess the acronym is ipp for it. if we build the plans that -- build all the plans that we have, we still are somewhere between 500,000 -- between 180,000 to 500,000 acre feet short of the water we need by 2050. regardless of the issue of brought which is catastrophic, the conversation we have to have on water in this country is real. without drought $15 billion in colorado alone to meet our needs by 2050. and so a couple questions that i have to both the bureau of rek
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reclamation and mr. ogsbury. i believe perhaps we need more flexibility and management ability at the local and state level. mr. ogsbury, do you think extra flexibility would be preferable to more control at the federal level over water projects. >> members of the committee, the western governors have adopted policy resolution 2014-03 water resource management in the west with the chairman's permission i'd like to submit that for the record. and it is very emphatic about the governors' -- about the state primacy over water management authority. >> and thank you. one of the challenges we see is it's taken almost a dozen year for chatfield reservoir in colorado which was army corps of engineers project to receive the
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approvals that it needed to move forward. in northern colorado where the flooding is occurring, we have another water storage project that started in 2004, the nisp project which can store tens of thousands of acre feet of water. yet we still don't have the necessary permits for that project. is there something that we can do from a permit point of view to increase our ability to store more water as we work on the needed conservation efforts? >> chairwoman murkowski, members of the committee, senator gardner quoting from that self-same policy resolution 2014-03, infrastructure planning and permitting guidelines, rules, and regulations should be coordinated, streamlined and sufficiently flexible to allow for timely decisionmaking in the design financing and construction of needed infrastructure, account for regional differences, balance economic and environmental consideration, and minimize the cost of compliance. >> i think there's three legs of
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the stool to a sound water policy. number one is increased water storage. number two is critical conservation, what we can do to conserve more water, become more water efficient. number three is, that federal, state, local partnership to make sure we are taking advantage of every opportunity we can to conserve, to store additional water. and i mention those other projects. one other project mr. connor, i wanted to ask you about. i had a great conversation with jennifer gymble who spent significant time at the colorado water conservation board now with the department of interior. we speak about the arkansas valley conduit. it was authorized under president kennedy. has received some funding over the past several years which we are grateful for, but now we've hit the point where we need to move forward or figure out a different way to move forward but i think the funding issues need to be resoferld. we need to ramp up this project so we can build this desperately needed 100 mile long pipeline to provide clean abundant water to
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the people of the arkansas valley. what specific actions do the bureau of -- what specific actions would the department of interior like to see at the local level or state level in order for the arkansas valley conduit to move forward? >> thank you, senator, for that question. i think overall it is a time of transition with respect to arkansas valley conduit and i do think we need to look at a different and better funding model. our goal up until this point at the bureau of reclamation has been to look at the permitting actions that needed to be doing figure out the best alternative in moving forward and laying out that project, and then get it to a full design phase, and that's what we've been working over the last couple years is to invest the money necessary to get to the design phase, fully understand the costs. now we're close to that transition point and what we've talked about over the last year is, is there a way to use state money, and i know they've got a significant low interest loan from the state, is that enough
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to get the project started, to start phasing in construction serving some of that demand and i agree with you absolutely it's a critical and important project, and give us some time to look at other federal programs that might be used to contribute to the cost of the construction. and i say that just because in as much as i think the administration has supported a robust budget for bureau of rek collar medication and congress has added to it knowing the importance of water resource issue we're just in a bind particularly with respect to rural water supply projects. we're $1.5 billion behind and we're looking at $300 million to $400 million more for the arkansas valley conduit. we need to look at cobbling a bunch of sources. >> if there are particular sources you would like to see at the local or state level when it comes to the arkansas valley conduit conduit, i hope you will contact my office with those so we can share them with the local operators and water managers. >> we will do that. thank you, senator. >> thank you.
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>> thank you, madam chair. you've heard a lot from western senators how critical water is. last night when i was chatting with my wife, my wife and kids live back in montana, we checked on how the four kids were doing, the three dogs, then it's what does the rain gauge say because we just had a bunch of storms come through montana and may has been a pretty good month. we made up for some lost time but the west is having drought. it's a serious issue and though the drought conditions that we're seeing in montana are not as severe as those in california, we still face below average snow packs. we've seen some much welcome rainstorms over the last few weeks, but they're not going to replace the summer snow pack runoff which normally occurs literally the three forks of the missouri that form 30 miles away from where i grew up. in fact, recent news reports, including the flat head river basin showing that we're at 55% of normal snow levels. these are up in northwest
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montana. another basin is reporting 16% of normal levels. so the concern now is we're looking at june 2nd is what does this mean for fire season coming up around the corner? montana has over 7 million federal acres that are at high or very high risk of wildfire. most of which are managed by the forest service. that's approximately 1 in 4 federally controlled acres in my home state of montana and nearly 2 million of these forested acres are most in need of some kind of treatment because they're near populated communities or critical watersheds. unfortunately, i was just informed by the forest service that the hazardous fuels treatments were only conducted on about 52,000 acres in the last fiscal year. so this current pace of treatment is unacceptable and now we're staring a the a significant fire season coming just around the corner. our watersheds, our habitat, our access to recreation, all of
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these critical montana treasures are at real risk because of wildfire. mr. buschatzke your testimony mentions how a number of national forests in adsrizona were created primarily for the purpose of watershed protection. in fact, i understand the city of phoenix set aside $200,000 for active forest management. the national forest foundation project on arizona national foretests, and the purpose as i understand to protect the watersheds supplying water to our communities. could you expand on the risk to watershed that is unhealthy forests pose? >> senator dane, certainly. in arizona we've looked at the condition of forest in presettlement times and there were less than 50 trees per acre. today there's over 1,000 trees per acre in our forests so they're choked. fire risk is high. in the 1980s we burned about 85,000 acres in those forests
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and in the 1990s about 230,000 acres, and in the 2000s over 2 million acres have burned in the forest. so we are seeking payways to thin the forest and it's going more slowly than we would like it to go. some of that is some of the environmental restrictions on the endangered species act and we would look maybe again as we talk about streamlining some of those issues for california for transferring that same streamlining to arizona to help with our forest issues and our forest health. >> what impact on the watershed does a wildfire pose? >> after the wildfire, the erosion and runoff you get from soil going to the streams creates huge water quality problems. it greatly increases the turbidity in the streams and raises the treatment costs for those cities who take that water
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out of those streams further down stream. that's one of the issues. it also chokes our reservoirs with silt and those reservoirs will rapidly fill up and lose more of their capacity over the long term. so we will loose storese storage long term. >> you mentioned a resolution which the western governors association had adopted. this resolution draws attention to the use of active forest and rangeland management as a means to prevent wildfire and promote healthy landscapes. how are healthy forests linked to helping to maintain clean, reliable water for our communities? >> chairwoman murkowski, senator danes, western governors understand the interrelatedness of these various resources issues under which we work and they certainly recognize wildfires and water supply and
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forest management all impact one another. i think we would certainly subscribe to the comments of the previous witness and beyond that i would ask for the ability to -- or permission to answer more fully for the record. >> thank you. lastly for deputy connor your testimony talks about how increased wildland fire risk threatens public health and a variety of resources including habitat for threatened and endangered species. what's the department doing to mitigate that risk? >> a couple of areas. to get to the point you were talking about, you know, there is not sufficient funding that we would like to see across all the agencies with respect to hazardous fuels reduction. what we've tried to do is expand the interest in the partnerships available to deal with that. in bureau of reclamation we started a western watershed
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enhancement partnership for the very reason you identified. we had a couple situations in colorado where denver water and colorado springs utility faced massive maintenance caused to cleaning up post-fire. we formed partnerships one in montana of hungry horse with local entities to try -- and the forest service, we would add money and we would do fuels reduction right above critical water infrastructure. so it's starting to take off. we're getting good -- we were out for an event last year in arizona. we're starting to get a lot of traction with interested entities. we're expanding upon the resources to bring to this issue. also we have a fire funding proposal in the president's budget for the last two years. we've gotten great support. we need to get over the finish line where we can increase the cap, the cap and make available emergency funds for fire suppression so we don't have to
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take it out of other accounts like our hazardous fuels reduction. through that we would like to have more stable budgeting for fuels reduction resilient landscape activities where we can marry up fuels reduction with landscape improvements that address species issues, the health of the overall forest and that's our goal with that budget proposal. >> i appreciate that. and that point that we want to be filling our reservoirs full of good, clean water and not silt as we look at one way to mitigate the impacts of drought. thanks. >> thank you, senator danes. i want to continue on mr. connor the relationship between water and some of our endangered species. when reclamation makes decisions on supply and delivery is the legal contract between the bureau and water users equal to the federal government's
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statutory responsibility to protect threatened or endangered species? is this viewed equal lyly, and whatever your answer is, i'm curious to know why if you can just speak to that. >> it's not necessarily viewed equally, chairman murkowski. it depends on the contractual large wage and the vast majority of contracts contain what is called a shortage clause and that clause depending on its language but the majority have been interpreted to say shortages to contracted amounts due to drought and even regulatory requirements result in reclamation not having to deliver that quantity of water. there are some contracts though where it's been found the language is different and that has not been held to be the case. >> let's just use a specific example. as i mentioned, i was in the central valley in california and
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all the discussion there is about release to provide for the delta smelt. so in that situation, is that one where the statutory requirement to protect the smelt overrides the legal contract again with the bureau to -- for water for users? >> it is -- statutory regulatory requirements as manifested in biological opinions are legal requirements that the bureau of reclamation has to comply with as part of making its water allocation decisions. >> how then as we're trying to gather the data to better understand whether or not we're making any headway whether it's with the delta smelt or with others with these environmental releases, how are we doing with our data collection?
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i mentioned in my initial questioning the collaboration that is obviously key throughout all of our agencies. are we also collaborating when it comes then to the data collection that is necessary for making these decisions oz we'reas we're talking about these environmental releases? >> chairman murkowski i recognize that there are differing views having read all the testimony presented today but i think we are doing a much better job of collaborating and applying the biological opinions, and i can give you several examples. these biological opinions from fisheries having to do with delta smelt and several other species, are very significant in how they affect water supply
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over time, but they've received a great amount of independent scientific review which isn't always the case in all biological opinions. the two biological opinions between them they were subject to four independent reviews prior and two reviews subsequent. the national academy upheld them as being fundamental lyly and conceptually sound in their application. having said that, they also raised issues about several of the reasonable and prudent alternatives saying that they weren't as well grounded in science and needed to be looked at closer. we have engaged in a collaborative science program with water users, and we have gradually made incremental changes in how we apply the biological opinions. we've done a better job by the resources particularly provided by the congress to install monitoring stations monitoring turbidity, where the fish are. it's given us more flexibility to operate the punches atmps at higher
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levels. we have recently this past year made a change to the incidental statement that applies for the delta smelt, which was critical because we were taking smelt at the pumps in a manner that would get close to that incidental take limitation which would have caused us to reconsult. what we did was took new data presented by the water users. we were convinced of the scientific soundness of that da to increase the incidental take statement. overall i would just say we're getting better we're making changes. could you certainly argue those changes should have been made several years ago but we're moving in the right direction with respect to flexibility and i think there is data out there that does demonstrate the benefit to the fishery from the application of these biological opinions. i don't believe that -- >> let me ask mr. ogsbury, from the western governors perspective, are we getting better, are we doing enough? do we have this collaboration?
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are we gaining the data that is going to be help snfl. >> chairwoman murkowski, as it turns out, data needs emerged as one of the key themes of the drought forum discussions over our initiatives first year and as we move in to years two and three of the western governors drought forum, i think that focus on data and data gaps will sharpen. one of the things we heard is, yeah, there's a lot of data out there but it's poorly coordinated, disseminated, synthesized, analyzed, and interpreted. so wildcatsas we look forward to the coming years of the drought forum, we will explore ways to ensure that the collection and sharing of crucial drought flooding, and stream weather related data, impact statistics and information are improved and sustained. may 3rd two gunmen opened fire outside a muhammad cartoon contest in garland, texas. the two shooters were killed and isis claimed responsibility for the attack though no evidence of
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that has been found. today the house homeland security committee holds a hearing on that shooting and terrorism threats to the u.s. see it live starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span3. today former rhode island governor and u.s. senator lincoln chafee announces his presidential campaign in a speech at the george mason center for politics and foreign relations in arlington, virginia. the former republican turned independent is running as a democrat. you can see it live starting at 5:30 p.m. eastern here on c-span c-span3 c-span3. with live coverage of the u.s. house on c-span and the senate on c-span2, here on c-span3 we complement that coverage by showing you the most relevant congressional hearings and public affairs events, and then on weekends c-span3 is the home to american history tv with programs that tell our nations story including six unique
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stories. the civil war's 150th anniversary, visiting battle fooelds. american artifacts, touring museums and historic sites to discover what artifacts reveal about america's past. history bookshelf with the best known american history writers. the presidency looking at the policies and legacies of our nation's commanders in chief. lectures in history with top college professor delving into america's past and our new series real america featuring archival government and educational films from the 1930s through the '70s. c-span3, created by the cable tv industry and funded by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter. tuesday president obama awarded the medal of honor posthumously to army sergeant william shemin and army private henry johnson for their courage in action in world war i. from the white house east room, this is 25 minutes.
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♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. ♪ >> we read in the sacred psalms even were i to talk in a ravine as dark as death, i should fear no danger for you are at my
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side. your staff and your crook are there to soothe me. let us pray. all powerful ever living lord of all may you guide this time this gathering as we remain mindful of the cost paid for our liberty. we gather here in gratitude for the men we recognize today, for their courage their faithfulness, and their selfless service. may the lives of sergeants henry johnson and william shemin remind us the soldier's heart, the soldier's spirit, and the soldier's soul are everything. keep us mindful always of these men, of their acts of valor, their witness to the indomitable human capacity for good even in the face of the most inhuman
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conditions of the battlefield. may these soldiers, their acts of heroism continue to form the fabric of our nation's unyielding devotion to protect the dignity of all humanity, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. let us take to heart these words once spoken after battle, that it is for us the living, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought have so nobly advanced. god of redemption and grace i ask these things in your name. amen. >> amen. >> good morning, everybody. please be seated. >> good morning. >> welcome to the white house. nearly 100 years ago a
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16-year-old kid from the midwest named frank buckles headed to europe's western front. an ambulance driver he carried the wounded to safety. he lived to see our troops ship off to another war in europe and one in korea, vietnam iraq, afghanistan. and frank buckles became a quietly powerful advocate for our veterans and remained that way until he passed away four years ago america's last surviving veteran of world war i. on the day frank was laid to rest in arlington national cemetery, vice president biden and i went to pay our respects, and we weren't alone. americans from across the country came out to express their gratitude as well and they were of different ages and different races, some military
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some not. most had never met frank, but all of them braved a cold winter's day to offer a final tribute to a man with whom they shared a powerful conviction, that no one who serves our country should ever be forgotten. we are a nation, a people, who remember our heroes. we takee seriously our responsibilities to only send them when war is necessary. we strive to care for them and their families when they come home. we never forget their sacrifice and we believe that it's never too late to say thank you. that's why we're here this morning. today america honors two of her sons who served in world war i nearly a century ago. these two soldiers were roughly the same age dropped into the
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battle fields of france at roughly the same time. they both risked their own lives to save the lives of others. they both left us decades ago before we could give them the full recognition that they deserved. but it's never too late to say thank you. today we present america's highest military decoration the medal of honor to private henry johnson and sergeant william shemin. i want to begin by welcoming and thanking everyone who made this day possible family friends admirers. some of you have worked for years to honor these heroes to give them the honor they should have received a long time ago. we are grateful that you never gave up. we are appreciative of your efforts. as a young man, henry johnson
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joined millions of other african-americans on the great migration from the rural south to the industrial north. a people in search of a better life. he landed in albany where he mixed sodas at a pharmacy worked in a coal yard and as a porter at a train station. ed a when the united states entered world war i, henry enlisted. he joined one of only a few units that he could, the all-black 369th infantry regiment, the harlem hell fighters. and soon he was headed overseas. at the time our military was segregated. most black soldiers served in labor battalions not combat units, but general pershing sent the 369th to fight with the french army, which accepted them as their own. quickly the hell fighters lived up to their name and in the
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early hours of may 15th 1918, henry johnson became a legend. his battalion was in northern france tucked into a trench. some slept, but he couldn't. henry and another soldier needham roberts stood sentry along no man's land. in the predawn it was pitch black and silent and then a click, the sound of wire cutters. a german raiding party at least a dozen soldiers, maybe more fired a hail of bullets. henry fired back until his rifle was empty. then he and needham threw grenades grenades. both of them were hit. needham lost consciousness. two enemy soldiers began to carry him away while another provided cover firing at henry, but henry refused to let them take his brother in arms. he shoved another magazine into his rifle.
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it jammed. he turned the gun around and swung it at one of the enemy knocking him down. then he grabbed the only weapon he had left, his knife, and went to rescue needham. henry took down one enemy soldariened then the other. the soldier he knocked down with his rife recovered and henry was wounded again but armed with just his knife henry took him down, too. and finally reinforcements arrived and the last enemy soldier fled. as the sun rose, the scale of what happened became clear. in just a few minutes of fighting, two americans had defeated an entire raiding party and henry johnson saved his fellow soldier from being taken prisoner. henry became one of our most famous soldiers of the war. his picture was printed on recruitment posters and ads for victory war stamps. former president teddy roosevelt
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wrote that he was one of the bravest men1] in the war. in 1919 henry rode triumphantly on a victory parade. clouds crowds lined fifth avenue for miles cheering this american soldier. he was one of the first soldiers to reap france's highest award for valor but his own nation didn't award him anything, not even the purple heart though he had been wounded 21 times. nothing for his bravery though he had saved a fellow soldier at great risk to himself. his injuries left him crippled. he couldn't find work. his marriage fell apart and in his early 30s he passed away. now, america can't change what happened to henry johnson. we can't change what happened to toot many soldiers like him who went uncelebrated because our
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nation judged them by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. but we can do our best to make it right. in 1996 president clinton awarded henry johnson a purple heart and today 97 years after his extraordinary acts of courage and selflessness, i'm proud to award him the medal of honor. we are honored to be joined today by some very special guests. veterans of henry's regiment the 369th. thank you to each of you for your service. and i would ask command sergeant major louis wilson of the new york national guard to come forward and accept this medal on private johnson's behalf. [ applause ]
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>> the president of the united states of america authorized by act of congress march 3rd 1863 has awarded in the name of congress the medal of honor to private henry johnson, united states army. private henry johnson distinguished himself by extraordinary acts of heroism at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a member of company c, 369th infantry renment, 93rd infantry division, american expeditionary forces on may 15th 1918 during combat operations against the enemy on the front lines of the western front in france. in the early morning hours private johnson and another sold he were were on sentry duty at a forward outpost when they received a surprise attack from a german raiding party consisting of at least 12 soldiers. while under intense enemy fire and despite receiving
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significant wounds, private johnson mounted a brave retaliation resulting in several enemy casualties. when his fellow soldiers was badly wounded and being carried away by the enemy private johnson exposed himself to great danger by advancing from his position to engage the two enemy captors from hand to hand combat. wielding only a knife and gravely wounded himself, private johnson continued fighting defeating two captors and rescuing the wounded soldier. des playing great courage he continued to hold back the larger enemy force until the defeated enemy retreated leaving behind a large cache of weapons and equipment and providing valuable intelligence. without private johnson's quick actions and continued fighting even in the face of almost certain death, the enemy might have succeeded in capturing prisoners and the outpost without abandoning valuable intelligence. private johnson's extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit
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upon himself company c, 369th infantry regiment, 93rd infantry division, and the united states army. [ applause ] [ applause ] >> growing up in bayonne new
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jersey, william shemin loved sports, football wrestling, boxing swimming. if it required physical required physical and mental toughness it made your heart pump, your muscles ache he was all in. as a teenager, he even played semi-pro baseball. so when america entered the war and hosters asked if he was tough enough there was no question about it he was going to serve. two young men enlist, no problem. popped his chest. and that's how william shemin joined the infantry regimen and shipped out. 1918 on the western front, the allies were hunkered down in one
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trench and germans in another separated by about 150 yards of open space just a football field and a half but that open space was a blood bath. soldier after soldier ventured out and soldier after soldier was mowed down. so those still in the trenches were left with a terrible choice. die trying to rescue your fellow soldier, or watch him die knowing that part of you will die along with him. william shemin couldn't stand to watch. he ran out into the hell of no man's land and dragged a wounded comrade to safety, then he did it again and again. three times he raced through heavy machine gunfire. three times he carried his fellow soldiers to safety. the battle stretched on for days. eventually, plat toon's leadership broke down.
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too many officers had become casualties. so william stepped up and took command. he reorganized the depleted squads. every time there was a lull in combat, he led rescues of the woman. as lieutenant later described it, william was cool, calm, intelligent, and personally, utterly fearless. young kid who lied about his anyone grew up fast in war. and he received accolades for his valor including the distinguished service cross. when he came home, william went to school for forestry and began a nursery business in bronx. it was hard work lots of physical labor just like he liked it he married a redhead, blue-eyed woman named bertha and they had two children that gave them 14 grandchildren. bought a house upstate where the grandchildren spent the summer
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riding horses. he taught them how to salute and raise the flag. taught them how to be americans. william stayed in touch with his fellow veterans too. and when world war ii came william went and talked about the signing up again. by then his war injuries had given him a terrible limp but he treated the limp like he treated his age, pay no attention to that he said he knew how to build roads and camouflage. maybe there was a place for him in this war too. to bertha's great relief, he needed to keep running his business and take care of his family. his daughter elsie who is here today, with what seems like a platoon of shemins has been a theory about what drove her father to serve. he was the son of russian immigrants, and he was devoted to his jewish faith.
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his family lived through the progress, she says. they saw towns destroyed, children killed. then they came to america. and here they found a haven. a home, success and my father and his sister both went to college. all that in one generation. that's what america meant to him. and that's why he'd do anything for this country. well, elsie, as much as america meant to your father, he means more to america. takes our nation too long sometimes to say so because sergeant shemin served at a time when the contributions of heroism of jewish americans in uniform were too often overlooked, but william shemin saved american lives. he represented our nation with honor. and so it is my privilege on the
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behalf of the american people to make this record and finally award the medal of honor to sergeant william shemin. i want to invite his daughters, elsie and eina, 86 and 83, and gorgeous, to accept this medal on their father's behalf. [ applause ] >> the president of the united states of america authorized by active congress, march 3rd 1863 has awarded in the name of congress the medal of honor to sergeant william shemin united
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states army. sergeant william shemin distinguished himself at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifleman with g company, second battalion 47th infantry regimen, american forces in connection with combat operations against an armed enemy on the river near france from august 7th to august 9th, 1918. sergeant shemin left cover and crossed an open space of 150 yards, repeatedly exposing himself to heavy machine gun and rifle fire to rescue wounded. after officers and senior non-commissioned officers had become casual distance. sergeant shemin displayed great initiative under fire until wounded on august 9th. sergeant shemin's selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself with g
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company second battalion, 47th infantry regimen forth division, american forces and the united states army. [ applause ]
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>> way to go els. >> well, it has take an long time for henry johnson and william shemin to receive the recognition they deserve. and there are surely others whose heroism is still unacknowledged, and uncelebrated. so we have work to do. as a nation to make sure that all of our hero's stories are told. and we'll keep at it the, no
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matter how long it takes. america's the country we are today because of people like henry and william. americans who signed up to serve and rose to meet their responsibilities. and then went beyond. the least we can do is to say we know who you are we know what you did for us we are forever grateful. may god bless the fallen of all our wars. watch over our veterans and their families and all those who serve today. may god bless the united states of america. with that, i'd ask the chaplain to return to the podium for a benediction. >> lord of all, as we go forward today, we ask you to instill within us your peace, your
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courage, your strength lead us to all that is good and brings honor to your creation. help us to defeat the evils we face each day. bless us with the wisdom to celebrate and recognize our capacity for good to free the oppressed. let us serve all with valor as these men have shown and witnessed to us today. be upon us now and remain with us, always.j5r& amen. >> with that, we conclude the formal ceremony but i welcome everybody to join in a wonderful reception, and let's give our medal of honor winners one big round of applause. [ applause ]
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this weekend the c-span's city tour will learn about the
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history and literary life of lincoln, nebraska. >> this is one of the most important american writers of the 20th century. she was given almost every literary award possible in her lifetime before she died. except for the nobel prize, she was known for some of her masterpieces like the professor's house, death comes for the arch bishop, the lost lady, and many others. in 1943, she had made a will which had a few restrictions. one she did not want her letters to be published or to be quoted in whole or in part. left behind at least 3,000 letters that we know about now, fortunately, the biggest are here in nebraska. and further more, she left one other important thing, she left it to the soul and uncontrolled possession to decide whether or not they enforce her preference. and they believe, as educational organizations that heather belongs to our shared heritage
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and we ought to know more about her. >> an important historical figure in nebraska's history was solomon d. butcher. >> solomon butcher was a pioneering photographer in western nebraska. he took photos from about 1887 1886 until early 1890s of homesteaders and sought houses and was able to tell the story of this important development in american history. okay, well, am going to show you one of my favorite images of the solomon butcher collection. it's actually the photograph of the chrystman sisters. it is four sisters who each took a homestead claim in costar county. this shows women homesteaders. it was the first time that women could own land on their own. didn't belong to their husbands
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it didn't belong to their fathers, single women could own their own land. and that was a really big deal with the homestead act. so each sister, each of the chrisman sisters took a homestead near their father's ranch. they each built a small house on the, on the homestead which is part of the homestead act. and they would take turns staying in each other's house and working each other's farm. so, the sisters really pulled together and made it in nebraska. >> watch all of our events from lincoln saturday evening at 6:00 on book tv and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span 3. and we're live this morning on capitol hill for a hearing on last month's isis-related shooting in garland, texas, and
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terrorism threats to the u.s. back on may 3rd two gunman opened fire outside a prophet mohamed cartoon drawing contest. these two gunmen were killed by police. isis claimed responsibility. national counterterrorism center john mulligan homeland security under francis taylor and fbi counterterrorism division assistant director michael steinback will all testify this morning. this is taking place in the house homeland security. live coverage here on c-span 3, should get under way in just a moment.
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live pictures of the house homeland security committee meeting is meeting this morning. they're holding a hear on the isis-related shooting in garland, texas. and focussing on terrorism threats to the u.s. should get under way in just a moment here live on c-span 3. other items coming up for you live road to the white house coverage later today here on c-span 3 as former rhode island governor lincoln chappy becames the fourth announced democratic presidential person. he's a former republican turned independent, and now he's running for the democratic nomination. you can see that at 5:30 eastern, again right here on
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c-span 3. the u.s. house starts their legislative work this afternoon at noon. we have commerce, justice, and science spending. could take up spending for the departments of transportation and housing and urban development. live coverage of the house right now as they're meeting for morning hour speeches. live here live on c-span and the senate starts work on a defense proep rations bill, live coverage on c-span 2.
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the committee on homeland security will come to order. the purpose of this hearing is to receive testimony regarding the increasing threat from violent islamic extremists groups, such as isis, to use the internet and social media to recruit fighters, share propaganda, and inspire and potentially direct attacks. and before i recognize myself for an opening statement, i'd like to welcome our newest member of the committee congressman daniel donovan of new york. we have another yet another new yorker on this committee. quite a contingency we're
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building. but his experience as a district attorney and dedication to public service make him a, i believe, valuable asset and we're happy to have you, sir, appreciate it. and now recognize -- >> i yield to the gentleman from new york. >> i'd like to join you in welcoming mr. donovan. he's outstanding district attorney, outstanding public servant, and he's going to work across the aisle for the betterment of the country. dan, great to have you on board thank you. >> miss rice -- >> just it show how bipartisan we are all going to be as a democrat i would like to welcome my former colleague da dan donovan, great to have you here and look forward to working with you thank you mr. chairman. >> anybody else like to -- mr. richmond. now to more serious topic, just yesterday in boston, reports are
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emerging that mr. raheem was killed by federal law enforcement officer after lunging at them with a knife. he was being investigated by the boston joint terrorism task force after communicating with and spreading isis propaganda online. known associates of mr. raheem are also being arrested as we speak. these cases are a reminder of the dangers posed by those radicalized through social media. in garland, one month ago, elton simpson fired off a series of tweets declaring his loyalty to the islamic state and urged others to do the same. including a #texasattack. previewing his decision to terrorize the prophet mohamed cartoon contest that islamists on social media had signalled out as a target. in his final tweets minute
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before the attack, he told followers to follow mr. hussein also known as al-rutani ab 20-year-old british fighter embedded with isis in syria and one of the people linked to the hack in january 20th of this year. he was quick to praise the garland attack and issued a warning that same night stating quote, the knives have been sharpened, soon we will come to your streets with death and slaughter. this exemplifies a new era in which terrorism has gone viral. extremists issued a call to arms to attack an event radicalized follower clearly heeded that call and took steps to make sure his act of violence would spread and motivate more. social media networks have become an extension of the
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islamists i terror battlefield overseas turning home grown extremists into sleeper operatives and attackers. the proliferation of jihadist propaganda online has established a new front in our battle against islamic extremists. we are no longer hunting terrorists living in caves and who only communicate through couriers. we are facing an enemy whose messages and calls to violence are posted and promoted in realtime over the internet. for example, last month the threat level at military bases across the country was elevated after isis supporters posted the names of individuals serving in the military online and quickly spread this on social media. this firing fanatics can receive updates from hard core extremists on the ground in syria via twitter watch isis blood lust on youtube, view jihady selfies on instagram,
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read religious justifications for murder on just paste it, and find travel guides to the battlefield on ask fm jihadi. they are mastering the ability to monitor and prey upon western youth susceptible to the twisted message of islamist terror. they seek out curious users who question, have questions about islam or want to know what life is like in the so-called islamic state. they engage, establish bonds of trust, and assess the commitment of their potential recruits. from their extremist right to users to continue the conversation on more secure apps. where secure communications hide their messages from our intelligence agencies. such communications can include advice from traveling to terror safe havens, contact information from smugglers into turkey, or
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the membership process for joining isis itself. i know the officials appearing before us here today are disturbed by these trends. mobile apps like kick and what's up, as well as data destroying apps like wicker and sure spot are allowing extremists to communicate outside of the view of law enforcement. equally as worrisome are isis attempts to use the dark or deep web. these websites hide ip addresses and cannot be reached by search engines. giving terrorists another covert means by which they can recruit fighters, share intelligence, raise funds, and potentially plot and direct attacks undetected as we saw yesterday in boston. isis tailors its message for specific audiences around the globe, and in doing so projects power far beyond the safe havens
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by amly if iing the successes and winning over new converts across the world. its media sophistication helps legitimize self-proclaimed caliphate in its perverse interpretation of islam. this stands in stark contrast to the past outreach which relied on tightly controlled top down messaging and propaganda more difficult for apyring jihadists to find. today isis is instead taking a grassroots approach to terror. seeding its repressive world view from the ground up. from digital magazines to online videos that glorify barbaric murder. isis is using its multi-platform engagement to create a jihadi subculture that encourages attacks against the united states and its allies. these tactics are a sea change for spreading terror, and they require from us a paradigm shift
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in our counterterrorism, intelligence and our operations. for example, we can start doing what the fbi director suggested shaking the trees more aggressive to quickly identify and engage potential home grown jihadis. but this is a dynamic new front in the war against islamistists terror. and it'll require a heavy focus on the ideological battle space. i am grateful for the three witnesses we have here today that are dealing firsthand on the front lines how this terror is going viral. and i look forward to hearing their testimony and recommendations for confronting this new and dangerous challenge. and with that, i now recognize the ranking member. >> thank you mr. chairman, and thank you for holding today's hearing. i'd like to also thank the witnesses for appearing today. on may 3rd the american freedom
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defense initiative, which is recognized as a hate group by the southern poverty law center organized a mohamed art exhibit and contest event in garland texas. two violent extremists armed with assault rifles and body armor attacked police. they were providing security to the event, resulting in the wounding of a dedicated police officer. according to to the fbi, just hours before the garland attack a bulletin was issued to state and local police stating that one of the assailants may have an interest in traveling to the event. unfortunately, the local police stated that the bulletin was not received in time. mr. chairman by no means am i saying this would have changed the outcome of the situation, but i do think that this illustrates that we need to continue looking into information-sharing with state
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and local police and also listening to the boots on the ground on how to recognize and prevent acts of home grown violent extremism. in the days following the attack in garland, supporters of the terrorist group isil praised the attack. after the attack it was discovered that one of the gunman detailed his plans to leave the country and travel to syria to join isil on twitter. the assailant's plans were disrupted when the fbi arrested some people that planned to travel with him. it also came to light that he engaged with other isil followers from around the world through twitter. mr. chairman, we know that the threats from foreign and domestic terrorist groups are not going away overnight. using the internet and social media to recruit members, plan attacks, and spread ideology is not novel. as the director of national counterterrorism center pointed out in a hearing in this
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committee in february isil's exploitation of social media plays a prominent role in the group's ability to recruit fighters from around the world. but as we look at social media and how violent extremist propaganda is spread we must look at ways to countermessage. both sides of the aisle are engaged in an examination of the president's countering violent extremism strategy. the department has a vital role to play in carrying out that strategy as evidence by the fact that there is a dedicated coordinator, david bern seen it working. mr. chairman, at this time i request that this committee have an open oversight hearing where we can take testimony from dhs coordinator about the department's role in implementing the cde strategy. furthermore, we know that more
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work remains to ensure that our foreign partners are willing to engable to stop and identify foreign fighters at their borders. last friday, the u.n. council issued an unprecedented statement urging countries to enforce border controls that allow suspected terrorists to travel across international borders. the director of the nctc also stated at our hearing that there was work to be done in this area, and i know that the economy has a task force that is examining this issue and we should be receiving their recommendations soon. mr. chairman as i stated in our last hearing on this issue, we all have to state to prevent terrorists attacks against americans and on american soil. accordingly, i encourage this committee to continue serious discussions on how to counter
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violent extremists i messages while protecting the constitutional rights. as we consider this threat, we need to force the greater information sharing among diverse partners, and seek new ways to work together to pursue effective and promising approaches to violent extremism. with that mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank the ranking member. first, i ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from texas mr. sessions the chairman of the rules committee also represents garland texas, be allowed to sit on the dias and participate in the hearing. gentleman from texas is recognized. >> mr. chairman, i'd like to ask anonymous to be recognized. >> i appreciate your indulgence, i'll yield my two minutes, the chairman of the rules committee,
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mr. sessions. >> thank you very much and my thanks to lamar smith, my colleague from san antonio for kindly yielding time to me i want to thank the young chairman, the gentleman from austin michael mccaul as well as the ranking member, my good friend, benny thompson and members of the committee. thank you for inviting me to participate in today's hearing to discuss the isis-inspired terrorist attack in garland texas. as the proud representative of the 32nd congressional district of texas i am pleased to notify each and every one of you that all of north texas is committed to fighting terrorism, specifically, the city of garland, texas is a diverse all-american city that continues to attract families and businesses with its thriving committee and growing opportunities. since 1891 this city has grown from a small cotton farming community to a thriving
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metropolitan area outside of dallas with almost a quarter million people that call garland, texas home. the mayor of garland texas doug at last, is a friend of mine and he works closely with his city managers, william and brian as well as the police chief and local officials including school board and other community leaders to ensure that garland is a great, safe city to live in. on sunday march 3rd may 3rd 2015, a courageous garland police officer swiftly acted to protect the people of garland from what could have been a devastating situation. i would like to commend the police officer and all members of local law enforcement who stood in the face of terrorism and protected countless, innocent lives. i remain committed to working with each of my colleagues in the house local leaders and local law enforcement to uphold our duty as elected officials to
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protect the people who we serve. it is my sincere hope that today's hearing that we can learn positive lessons so that other cities and communities can be as prepared as garland, texas, if an event were to happen in their local community. mr. chairman, thank you very much, i yield back my time. >> i thank the gentleman from texas. other members saying that opening statements may be submitted for the record. pleased to have a distinguished panel of witnesses before us today on this important topic. but first, john mulligan joined the national counterterrorism center in march 2015, as deputy director. previously he served as associate deputy director for the counterterrorism, the national security agency. next, we have mr. francis taylor assumed his post as undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at the department of homeland security in april of 2014. previously he served as as assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security and director
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of the office of foreign missions. and finally, we have mr. michael steinbach who is appointed fbi director by james comby as the assistant director of the counterterrorism division in july of 2014. prior to assuming his current position, he serves as deputy, assistant director of the counterterrorism division, and the acting section chief of the fbi's international terrorism operations center. i want to thank all of you for being here today. the chair now recognizes deputy director mulligan to testify. >> thank you chairman mccaul, members of the committee i greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss some of the recent events of interest to the committee and the growing threat of extremist use of social media to national security. i'm pleased to join my colleagues from homeland security and the federal bureau of investigation as you already know, we work closely every day as part of the counterterrorism community, and that inner agency partnership is one of the keystones of our homeland
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defense. this morning,ly speak briefly to you about the recent attempted attack in garland, texas, and the role of violent extremists social media in that event. thenally transition to a broader remarks on isil's use of social media before concluding by sharing some of the efforts nctc and partners across the federal government are pursuing to counter that avenue of threat. as has already been described last month two u.s. citizens attacked an art exhibit and cartoon contest in garland, texas. the attackers arrived exited their car, and opened fire with semiautomatic rifles injuring a guard on the scene. thankfully, local law enforcement partners in the area were aware of the potential for violence and were able to respond quickly to prevent the attack from injuring or killing others. this event highlights the growing threat our nation faces from a new generation of terrorists. often operating from afar who use social media to find
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like-minded supporters who attack with little or no warning. as was indicated in this case an online isil supporter on twitter posted a link to an article with information of our cartoon contest a few weeks beforehand. this supporters posting included a message suggesting extremists should follow in the footsteps of the "charlie hebdo" attack in paris. days later, one of the garland attackers reached out to isil supporters and asked to move their communications to private twitter mess ening. the same individual urged them to follow the account of the known isil member who had been trying to incite supporters to conduct attacks in the west. just hours before the attack the same attacker posted a message on his twitter feed indicating he pledged allegiance to isil with the accompanying #texasattack. isil did not claim responsibility for directing or managing the attack but isil
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operators praised the attackers and encouraged others to follow suit. the group also highlighted the attack and the most recent addition of its online magazine which it publishes in several languages. as we examine isil's broader efforts and social media like any brand that seeks to target young people, isil continuingly innovates its online marketing to ensure it is developing effectively crafted messages. using well-known platforms such as youtube, facebook or twitter, isil works to ensure its media releases reach audiences far and wide through reposting, re-generation of follow on langs and multiple languages. isil also employs marketing trade craft attaching messages to trending topic to gain readership. consequently, social media presence is more widespread than any other terrorist group. since the beginning of this year isil has published more than 1,700 pieces of terrorist
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messaging. underscoring the commitment to master multiple social media tools in order to advance their extremist objectives. as the committee already knowing, isil is often shaped its media contents to amplify the effect of its violent operations and activities. they do so in an attempt to project an image of power and intimidation. they also employ a complimentary approach to enhance recruitment a projection of the self-described caliphate as a family-friendly environment in which religious or personal fulfillment can be realized. this narrative has successfully induced large numbers of young people to make their way to the combat zones of syria and iraq. during the past few months
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isil's social media operators have more aggressively pursued a new line of effort. following statements from senior isil leaders, encouraging lone actor attacks against the west. these operators are now practicing online recruitment and provisioning of terrorist instruction intended to precipitate civilian attacks within the u.s. and other nations. sadly as we have seen, some individuals have embraced the messaging and sought to commit acts of violence on this basis. when it comes to countering the spread of the violent messaging several platforms have taken the initiative to close down accounts advocating terrorism and violent acts. they do this upon detection, however, energetic efforts to prohibit the propagation of violent messaging has not been universal, and there is still much work to be done to encourage greater vigilance and a broader sense of corporate responsibility to address this threat to public safety. for our part, we are employing
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the knowledge that we have developed that has been developed by the u.s. counterterrorism community to refine and expand our prevention efforts. we have seen a today is proliferation of more proactive and more engaged community awareness initiatives across the united states, all working with the goal of giving communities information and tools they need to identify the threats posed by violent extremists online recruitment. and to effectively engage it before it manifests in violence. with our colleagues, we have created and regularly deliver a community resilience exercise program, a tabletop exercise that brings together law enforcement and community leaders to run through a hypothetical scenario and potential responses. in summary, we need multilevel partnership efforts and ensuring resilient responses when an individual moves from radical ideology to radical
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violence. we must continue to develop our knowledge of evolving terrorist online tactics and we need to communicate that knowledge so it can be used to minimize the application of terrorists online tactics against our citizens. i'll stop therepobx mr. chairman, thank you again for the opportunity to address the committee. >> thank you mr. mulligan. now secretary taylor to testify. >> call ranking member thompson, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to a appear with my colleagues to discuss the threat to our country. terrorist threat today is more centralized and complex, it is not constrained to one group race ethnicity national origin religion, or agreegeographic location. isil, al qaeda, and other like-minded terrorist organizations have expanded their efforts for violent action at home and to continue to be effective and continue to be effective in recruiting foreign fighters from western countries
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to travel to syria and iraq. core al qaeda and its affiliates remain a major concern for dhs. the group and its affiliates maintain the intent and in some cases, the capability to facilitate and conduct a tax against u.s. citizens and facilities. the attack planning continues despite our persistent efforts to disrupt them. through the sophisticated messaging capability as mr. mulligan has mentioned isil has been able to quickly reach a global audience and encourage acts of violence inspiring u.s. citizens to travel to syria to recruit and radicalize, to balance western home grown violent extremists here at home. this is concerning because mobilized lone offenders present law enforcement with limited opportunities for detection and to disrupt their plots. the recent attack in garland,
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texas, reinforced the importance of close collaboration and information sharing between dhs the fbi, other federal, state, local, and private sector partners. prior to the attack the fbi and dhs shared with the texas fusion center and local law enforcement warnings that the event was at-risk of being targeted fonk violent extremism. these warnings led to the preparations taken by the garland pd that help thwart the attack. our top priority to counter this evolveing threat is intelligence sharing with our partners. dha, ina, and the national programs protection division field personnel are instrumental in this effort and anticipate to anticipate potential terrorists actions and to propose protective security measures to help build resilience in our communities across the country.
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as an example of close coordination and intelligence sharing between dhs, ina, state and local partners was the protest last week in phoenix arizona, this past weekend. reproactively contacted our partners on the ground and shared intelligence from the fbi and dhs sources in realtime to help ensure local leadership and law enforcement at the necessary information to protect their communities and their citizens. additionally, we reached out to the faith community in phoenix to provide information regarding the potential violent activities so that they could take preventive actions in their communities. it is important that we continue to build these partnerships with state and local law enforcement in a way that enhances community relationships and builds resilience to violent extremists recruitment. dhs now has a senior executive the dhs coordinator whose sole role is to coordinator and
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improve the department's see the efforts. the new dhs cve strategy recognizes the strength of local communities and the well-informed and well-equipped families to community and personnel represent the best defense against violent extremism. dhs will continue to work with our international counterparts and our colleagues within the fbi, state department, and across to identify threats to our security both at home and abroad. chairman mccaul, running backing member thompson and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today, and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you secretary taylor. the chair now recognizes steinbach. >> good morning chairman m mccaul members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the recent
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terrorist influence which transskends boundaries like never before. terrorist's use of technology has aided in the desemination of rhetoric in the homeland and aboard. as it evolves we must confront the challenges. this includes working closely with federal state local and international partners since the threat persistent in all of our communities. we continue to identify individuals who seek to join the ranks of foreign fighters in support of isil and also the home grown violent extremists who may aspire to attack from within. conflicts in syria and iraq continue to entice western-based extremists who wish in engage in violence. we estimate upwards of 200 americans have attempted to travel to syria to join extremists groups. we analyze and assess those located in the united states who are inspired to commit acts of
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violence. they remain among the highest priorities for the fbi and sbenls community as a whole. isil has proven relentless through their skillfully crafted messaging, the group continues to attract like-minded extremists, including westerners. isil has constructed a narrative that is appealing to individuals from many different walks of life. it is seen by many who click through the internet today, receive social media push notifications, and participate in social networks. in recent months, isil, via social media, has advocated for attacks against military personal, law enforcement, and intelligence community members. isil has gone so far to post names, addresses, and photos of u.s. military personnel to the internet which quickly went viral. we should also understand community and world events may entice an individual to act. as we've seen recently of highly publicized events including the attack in garland, they will attract media attention and
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inspire copy cat attacks. the targeting of the mohamed attack encouraged by isil along with the power of viral messaging. as i've stated in previous opportunities i had to testify before this committee, there is no set profile for the consumer of this propaganda. however, one trend continues to rise, the inspired youth. we've seen children and young adults drawing deeper into the isil narrative. these generations are often comfortable in virtual communication platforms especially social media networks. some of these conversations occur in publicly accessed social media networking sites, but others take place via private messaging platforms. as a result, it is imperative the fbi and all law enforcement organizations understand the latest communication tools and are equipped to identify and prevent terror attacks in the homeland. we live in a techno logically driven society and just as private industry has adapted to
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modern forms of communication, so too have the terrorists. social media is yet the latest tool exploited by terrorists. with its widespread distribution model and encrypted communications, it has afforded a free zone by which to recruit radicalize, plot, and plan. we need to urgently assess the laws applicable in these matters and work with private industry toward technology solutions. to correct the narrative, this is not a conversation about national security at the expense of privacy or about weakening legitimate security of communication products through creation of back doors we are looking to be fully transparent with legal process showing evidence of a crime to gain access through the front door with full knowledge of those companies. the fbi seeks to ensure no one is above the law. so the bad guys can not walk away leaving victims in search of justice. there is certainly a balance between security and privacy. we seek that proper balance and
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one in which security enhances liberty. the fbi and partnership with dhs and mctc is utilizing all techniques and methods to combat the threats these individuals pose to the united states. in conjunction with our domestic and foreign partners, we are rigorously collecting and analyzing intelligence information as it pertains to the ongoing threat posed by foreign terrorist organizations and home grown violent extremists. in partnership with our many federal state and local agencies assigned to joint terrorism task forces around the country, we remain vigilant. chairman mccaul and committee members, thank you for the opportunity to testify concerning isil's persistent threat to the united states. i'm happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you director steinbach. i recognize myself for five minutes. i want to first pull up on the screen what i consider to be
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internet conspiracy to conduct a terrorist attack. i was a federal prosecutor, worked on drug cases, organized crime, there are a lot of similarities, but this one is conducted completely on the internet. and let me first commend, i want to commend the fbi, homeland security, and the joint terrorism task forces for their textbook model case efforts in both the garland attack and most recently in boston. that's the way it's supposed to work. unfortunately you have to get it right every time. and they just have to get it the right once. but in kind of shows what we're dealing with the threat gone viral. you have this guy the isis follower in somalia directing attacks against the cartoonist art competition, to mr. simpson, who responds, and as the attack
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is being conducted, we have the infamous mr. al-bertani who has become one of the chief isis recruiters hackers, directors for terrorist attacks congratulating them basically saying that the knives have been sharpened, soon we will come to your streets with death and slaughter. and i guess my first question is to director steinbach this is just a microcosm of the conspiracy of the internet we're looking at and the threat that we're looking at on the internet. how many potential recruiters do you think we have sitting in syria and somalia and north africa actively recruiting acts of terrorism globally?
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>> that's a good question, sir. so i think you can refer to the brookings institute study on terrorist use of social media in particular, twitter, and gives you an idea of what we're dealing with. so when you look at the volume of social media and its social, and its ability to spread horizontally, you probably look in the neighborhood of a couple thousand core users, propagandas, that are pushing that message out. then probably in the neighborhood of 50,000 based on the study that's in open source of individuals retweeting that message. then again upwards of 200,000 say for instance receiving that message. that's our pool with which to start. and those are just, you know, ball park numbers. so unfortunately social media is a great tool for the public but it also allows for this horizontal distribution which is very difficult to follow. those are baseline the numbers that we start with. >> baseline, you said, its been reported over as many as 200,000
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pro-isis tweets per day occur on the internet is that correct? >> i couldn't give you the exact numbers, it's a large volume. and that's the trick right? what is somebody's individual right to tweet and say what they want to say versus somebody who is going down a different road more nefarious road, that's the starting point, the thousands that you talk about and trying to comb through that and find out who amongst those individuals are up to no good. who amongst those individuals are potentially plotting an attack on western interests. >> and that is the great challenge that the fbi and homeland has is to try to you know, monitor to the extent you can, these communications. >> it's usually problematic. the social media's great, it's out there, it's open source but the volume is immense. and that of course i'm talking about the open side of social media. i'm not talking about the
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encrypted direct messaging which is also a very problematic issue for us. >> and how many of those followers, or actually in the -- are actually in the united states in your estimate? >> so i think director comby there's hundreds maybe thousands. it's a challenge to get a full understanding of how many of those passive followers are taking action. >> i've read some of these twitter accounts and tweets. they have thousands of followers and thousands foe lowllowing, which they're actively communicating and pinging each other. let's go into messaging. then they go into a more secure space that if we have coverage, we can pick that communication but as you suggested they have ability to go to dark spate
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another platform that is securecom we don't have the ability to monitor these communications, that is correct? >> that is correct, sir. >> to me that's one of greatest concerns i have. do we have any idea how many communications and taking place in the dark space? >> no, we don't. and that's the problem. we're past going dark in certain instances. we are dark. the ability to know what they're saying in encrypted communication situations is troubling. >> i think it's a tremendous threat to the homeland. do you have any recommendations for the congress? >> i think we need to have an honest conversation, get past the rhetoric of what we're talking about. we're not talking about large-scale surveillance techniques. we're talking about going before the court whether the criminal court, the national security court, with evidence burden of
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proof, probable cause, suggesting a crime has been committed or in our case, there's a terrorist and showing that burden of proof, having the court sign off on it and going to those providers and requesting access to either that stored information or that communications that's ongoing. so we're not looking going through a back door or being nefarious. talking about going to the company, asking for their assistance. we suggest and we are imploring, congress to help us seek legal remedies towards that as well as asking the companies to provide technological solutions to help that. we understand privacy. privacy, above all other things including safety, freedom from terrorism, is not where we want to go. >> well, i think this committee should be looking at this very important issue. finally, if you can comment on the most recent boston case, it's been reported that this was
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a isis-inspired event over the net, took to behead police officers. we know a lot of commands and called arms to attack military installations and attack police officers. i know it's an active investigation. to the extent you can comment on this would you please do so? zbl>> investigate's early on, post-event not a lot i could say on the intelligence side. you're right, we know isil has put out a message to attack the west specifically law enforcement, military. we know that they have been looking at those target sets. so we are very careful in where we're at. the targets that are out there, counter terrorism subjects we are monitoring them closely for any type of action any type of overt steps any mobilization factors. when we see those, we're not
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taking the chance. >> i proosh that.appreciate that. we comment your efforts in most recent threat. with that the chair recognizes the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. steinbach, you went into great detail, the challenge of social media and other things. do you, at this point, see the challenge, also resources, but the authority to do your job?d >> i don't feel we have a challenge resourcewise. we've done an effective job identifying, prioritizing working through the jttfs, state, locals to focus the target set. i would say that, of course we always have to prioritize resources but it's more so the
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challenge for me is technological challenge to get over that hurdle. >> when you said technological is it -- explain that a little bit more me, please. >> when a communications company or isp or social media company elects to build in its software encryption leaves no ability for even the company to access that we don't have the means by which to see the content. when we intercept it we intercept encrypted communications. so that's the challenge. working with those companies to build technological solutions to prevent encryption above all else. >> so there's nothing from a congressional standpoint authority you need from us to make that happen? >> well, i think a number of years ago congress passed colia
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a law put in place that required telecommunication providers to provide assistance to law enforcement. i would sawing that's a starting point that we need to expand who is -- who is bound by that law, telebhun indication provider is a small subset of companies out that provide communication services these days. i think it's a starting point that would be helpful. >> can you provide the committee with beyond the starting point in terms of where the department think we should be going in this direction? >> sir i could. i think more appropriately, the fbi's otd, operational technology division has the lead on that. i'm sure they'd be happy to lay out for you step by step where they need to go. >> i think, mr. chairman, we ought to try to make that part of what we do. >> okay. >> mr. mulligan according to
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your testimony, videos tweets and messages are probably not enough to radicalize individuals who are beginning to show these tendencies. they serve as discussion points. showing interest and having online discussions are not criminal in nature. so what do we do about all of these online portals that kind of start this people down this slope, so to speak? >> sir, as my colleague mentioned, so it is part of a dialogue. they start out by trying to gain your interest. it's marketing and advertising. and as michael indicated a lot of it is there's followers. as you frequently start out following someone, describing to one of their channels and then it progresses beyond that into a dialogue. so what we really need to be
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doing is helping educate a lot of the members of the public about this process. we've been trying to do that with dhs so so that, like as michael also said, family members are aware that if their children are spending a lot of time on this they need to be able to counter that. they need to be able to execute some degree of measures. these individuals are very savvy and their understanding of the gradual nature of recruitment and operationalization. what they try to do is create a series of images that are attractive and try to broaden that into a further discussion. it dozen require a much([
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